dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
3357
share rss forum feed


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8

1 recommendation

[Electrical] Hawaii Solar Boom So Successful, It's Been Halted

This story could have some interesting ramifications for those considering installing solar PV systems:

»www.eenews.net/stories/1059992167

Long story short...utility insists all the new PV systems being installed are harming its physical plant.
--
Many believe, but few will question...I decline to be blind.



nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
·surpasshosting
I this case, the utility is probably right. Individual (micro) solar is not the way to implement solar power unless you plan on going 100% off grid.
If it weren't for huge subsidies paid for by other taxpayers, it would be completely out of reach for most. In many cases, solar is simply a "feel good" technology.
Example: »www.usatoday.com/story/news/nati···2653717/
I see it in this very forum. People get on here blowing hard about how great their solar systems are. They spout too good to be true ROI numbers most often provided by the solar panel installation salesman (imagine that!).

Unless you live in the Southwest or South, it really doesn't make much sense.
There's also the "dirty" side of solar that no one talks about: »www.environmentalleader.com/2013···t-waste/
There are also going to be big EOL disposal problems as well: »www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/p···els.html

Don't get me wrong - solar should be a big part of our future. We are just doing wrong. It needs to be done on a large scale with solar generation plants like this: »ivanpahsolar.com/
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
Click for full size
said by nunya:

Don't get me wrong - solar should be a big part of our future. We are just doing wrong. It needs to be done on a large scale with solar generation plants like this: »ivanpahsolar.com/

You mean this one?


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to nunya
Solar panels installed in New York man's home won't ever generate enough electricity to cover the $42,480 cost to install.

By the numbers for the panels He installed in 2009:

$42,480, total project cost.

$29,504, combined value of subsidies and tax credits.

$12,976, Punton's investment.

15,000, approximate kilowatt hours generated so far by solar panels, as of July 1.

18.6 cents, average residential retail cost of electricity per kilowatt hour, May 2013.

$2,790, approximate value of electricity generated by solar panels to date.

I think it is outrageous that $29,504 of tax money extracted from others was used to finance this. The only ones gaining are the solar companies selling and installing them.


stevek1949
We're not in Kansas anymore
Premium
join:2002-11-13
Virginia Beach, VA
Pocono Raceway installed a large scale PV array in 2010. It generates enough power to supply the track fully. There ia real-time display available. Realize that it's in the NE section of PA and gets a little cloudy this time of year. But it is still generating power.

»live.deckmonitoring.com/?id=pocono_raceway


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
How much did the system cost to install and how much has it actually saved them? Just because they have it and their site has data what does it actually show?


stevek1949
We're not in Kansas anymore
Premium
join:2002-11-13
Virginia Beach, VA

1 recommendation

Somehow I knew that I could count on you Jack! A little research goes a long way;

»thetimes-tribune.com/news/pocono···1.911677


Eyeballs
Premium
join:2000-04-25
Worcester, MA
reply to Jack_in_VA
I completely agree. This technology isn't mature enough to go main stream. It doesn't cut energy costs. It just moves the cost from one supplier to another.

I found this out when I looked into PV's for my house.

After incentives and tax credits, my cost would have been roughly $26,000 to produce $120-$130/mo in power. $48,000 before all the incentives. $48k that I would have to initially finance up front then refinance or pay down the original loan after I received the incentive/tax credit funds.

It would have taken 15-18 years to break even and with these panels lasting only 20 years, I'd really have only 2-5 years of free energy. And that's the best case scenario. Not worth it.

I'm in the NE. We get snow. I hate shoveling. I think I'd hate shoveling the roof even more.
--
Team Discovery--BBR Team Helix--Cuz I Care!!

H_T_R_N
Premium
join:2011-12-06
Valencia, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·voip.ms
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

How much did the system cost to install and how much has it actually saved them? Just because they have it and their site has data what does it actually show?

What does it matter how much if any it saves them? From what I remember it had nothing to do with cost savings, and everything to do with being a bit more green. As as long as they did not use any public money to do it, who cares if they never recoup the install cost? There are some who are willing to spend a little to advance the adoption of cleaner power.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

2 edits
However they did use public money,
quote:
federal renewable energy credits will make the project affordable.
This is a "feel good" effort for millionaires and mostly a PR Project for the track to counter the negative impact the track has on the environment. Auto racing cannot be thought of as "Green"


Fronkman
An Apple a day keeps the doctor away
Premium
join:2003-06-23
Saint Louis, MO

2 edits

1 recommendation

reply to Jack_in_VA
Click for full size
said by Jack_in_VA:

Solar panels installed in New York man's home won't ever generate enough electricity to cover the $42,480 cost to install.

By the numbers for the panels He installed in 2009:

$42,480, total project cost.

Do you know what is really disingenuous? Using 5 year old price numbers.

I have seen this before. Nothing is ever quite good enough for some people in terms of the adoption of PV. There is always some problem: Chinese-made panels, "increased" homeowner's insurance costs, etc, etc. Using old price numbers to support a bogus argument comes with the territory. Should I use the price of my old IBM PS/2 ($3500 in 1987) to make the argument that computers are really expensive?

You are totally ignoring the market manipulation by the power company in the OP's article. Tax incentives are disappearing for solar because the price has dropped so dramatically they are needed any more. The power company is trying to protect profits and massively manipulate the market.

At a macro level, PV generation at the individual home level makes a HUGE amount of sense. Allowing arrays larger than 100% of demand allows for increased generation during the peak hours without building more plants. Existing plants will provide more than enough power for the off-peak times when the PV systems aren't generating.

If your argument is that PV advocates are inflating numbers, don't do the same. Use 2013 (now almost 2014) prices. Don't use anecdotal examples of the most expensive systems you can find on the internet. Your high-priced anecdotes can easily be matched with low-price ones: my array cost $9000 in 2012 (total cost of material and labor, no deductions for tax credits etc) and during a recent conversation with my installer he said that it would only cost $7000 in 2014. A far cry from the $30k systems you are quoting.

This argument will be settled soon. Your argument is that solar doesn't make sense without tax credits. Once the tax incentives are gone let's see what the market says about PV. I'm betting that the number of installed arrays continues to climb.
--
Everyone should own a Mac! Go Bucks!


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
If the tax credits are removed and incentives are removed and the cost is completely the responsibility of those installing PV that's fine. We will see what the result of someone having to bear the real cost is.


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

The only ones gaining are the solar companies selling and installing them.

And a dirty (as in pollution) little secret about solar in residential is, for every megawatt of solar deployed a matching amount of fossil fuel has to be deployed to back it up, the reason being in residential the electrical load begins rising in the early evening to a peak after sunset and with the majority of residential solar installs being grid tie with no local storage they become useless for peak shaving, a false selling point often touted by those who promote and sell such systems.

Out of the lips of a politician or to the green movement solar is the end all solution, but in the real world until massive amounts of electrical storage become practical and cost effective, solar is not ready for prime time generation, nor peak shaving in the residential arena, more so as another green idea that being electric vehicles start coming home to be charged at night.

Now don't get me wrong I am a proponent of solar and in fact I just recently added another panel to my solar domestic hot water system, but that is a mature technology which uses low cost panels allowing for a true un-subsidized ROI which is measured in months not years.


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL

1 edit
reply to Fronkman
said by Fronkman:

Do you know what is really disingenuous?

Statements like the one below.

Allowing arrays larger than 100% of demand allows for increased generation during the peak hours without building more plants. Existing plants will provide more than enough power for the off-peak times when the PV systems aren't generating.

Because power plants cannot be clicked on or off line at the flick of a switch, solar which is a variable, therefore an undependable source of power cannot be relied upon to cover daytime peak loads, and at night lacking local storage they cannot be used to shave the residential peak load which occurs after sunset.



printscreen

join:2003-11-01
Juana Diaz, PR
Reviews:
·Choice Cable TV
·Coqui/PRTC

1 recommendation

reply to John Galt
The whole renewable energy is full of hype where only the sellers are the ones that really benefit. That goes even to the large industrial installations, particularly wind farms. Many wind farms are being built just because the government tax credits and even some are being built in areas of marginal o very little wind. Even without the tax credits, the technology of solar and wind energy does not really save much on fossil fuels. Here in Puerto Rico there are a few large solar farms (in the order of 20 MW) and two wind farms all of them with an installed capacity of about 120 MW. The largest of the wind farms has a PPA for 95 MW with the local utility but they are only doing like 20-30% capacity factor which in a power grid that has more than 5,000 MW of installed capacity (nearly all from fossil fuels) the wind farm never generates enough power to be able to turn off one fossil fuel-burning unit in the other power plants. So there.... no fuel is being saved and the only ones benefiting from the wind farm is its owner from energy sales and Siemens for being the supplier of the wind turbines.

pandora
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Outland
kudos:2
Reviews:
·ooma
·Google Voice
·Comcast
·Future Nine Corp..
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

This is a "feel good" effort for millionaires and mostly a PR Project for the track to counter the negative impact the track has on the environment. Auto racing cannot be thought of as "Green"

The racetrack sure uses "green" a lot. Currently their PV system is providing 74 KV - »live.deckmonitoring.com/?id=pocono_raceway it's overcast and cold. I toddle here - »www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_re···e5_a.xls which is a department of energy spreadsheet (Excel) and look at how many KW per month the average home uses in Pennsylvania (to estimate how many homes are powered).

According to the DOE for Pennsylvania in 2012 average home energy use per month is 837 KWh. Dividing by 30 my estimate is 27.9 KWh per day per home. I understand this is all average, and not exact. It works out to a bit over a KWh per hour (1.16 more or less). I assume the 84 KW output will sustain through the hour, and become 84KWh (this is done to estimate) after dividing 84 by daily usage my determination is 72.25 average Pennsylvania homes could likely be powered by this 25 acre facility today when the sun is out.

Over here - »thetimes-tribune.com/news/pocono···1.911677 we see 1,000 nearby homes will be powered by the raceway. According to CNN Pocono Raceway paid $16,000,000 to install the PV array - »www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2010···ide.html (links to a CNN video, I couldn't find the CNN story directly).

I couldn't find information about any subsidy, or much else regarding budget or costs of the project. To the best of my understanding photo voltaic is an intermittent power source and not highly reliable day to day. Utilities must cover all power needs when the sun isn't out, but must be able to scale up and down with solar during the day. The cost to rapidly scale power on a grid likely isn't inexpensive, and someone will have to pay for it.

Pocono Raceway has green everywhere, which seems odd as racing cars is far down on my list of green things to do.
--
Congress could mess up a one piece jigsaw puzzle.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
It's strickly for PR as Auto Racing is one of the least green activities around which includes the massive pollution from the fans driving to and from the track.


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL
reply to pandora
said by pandora:

Utilities must cover all power needs when the sun isn't out, but must be able to scale up and down with solar during the day.

Something they cannot do without installing fuel oil or NG fired turbine peakers which are quite expensive to operate, a cost which is passed on to the subscribers.

The cost to rapidly scale power on a grid likely isn't inexpensive, and someone will have to pay for it.

You need to study up on how an interstate electrical grid is managed and balanced and after you do, you might just realize just how incorrect that statement is.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

If the tax credits are removed and incentives are removed and the cost is completely the responsibility of those installing PV that's fine. We will see what the result of someone having to bear the real cost is.

I looked into a number of solar, geothermal, etc options when I built my house a few years ago.. I couldn't justify the additional expense even with the tax credits included.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to 54067323
Fossil fuel power plants aren't the only way to meet peak demands and more importantly don't help at all with the issue of excess power from plants that can't be throttled easily.

One solution that I have seen here in California as well as in Europe is hydro-electric power storage. Excess power is used to pump water into an uphill reservoir which is then used to generate power during peak periods. The advantages are that it is "green" technology, rapid response to variations in the grid and that it can be used to store energy on a very large scale (higher capacity then realistically possible with batteries). The disadvantages are low efficiency (compared to electro-chemical storage in batteries) and the large area needed for the reservoir.
--
Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to Fronkman
said by Fronkman:

Your high-priced anecdotes can easily be matched with low-price ones: my array cost $9000 in 2012 (total cost of material and labor, no deductions for tax credits etc) and during a recent conversation with my installer he said that it would only cost $7000 in 2014. A far cry from the $30k systems you are quoting.

You're in MO, not NY. In this area labor costs can easily exceed 2-3 times the cost of materials. Actually when I was quoted for my HVAC system, a salesman noted that if I was only 5 miles off in the neighboring county (same state), the system would have been about 2.5k cheaper - all due to labor rates.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Auto racing cannot be thought of as "Green"

Sure it can, green is a color that's some times used on cars
--
semper idem
1KTzRMxN1a2ATrtAAvbmEnMBoY3E2kHtyv


ny lurker

@verizon.net
reply to John Galt
i'm a frequent lurker on this forum, i don't normally post.

but, i had to chime in. i thought i read somewhere that even today, the best PV is only like 25-27% efficient. i think the focus should be on make PV more efficient, in order to capture more of the sun's energy.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to DarkLogix
This is way off-topic but there definitely are green car races: World Solar Car Race 2013 .

I'm pretty sure Jack_in_VA See Profile is well aware of electric and solar car races (since he made the effort to point out that visitors to those events still pollute the environment).

Since I'm in California where there is plenty of sunshine I keep getting inundated with offers for cheap or free solar power installations. What I found interesting is that the largest system anybody is offering to install would only be for 50% of average usage (and that is even before anybody checked my usage or determined suitable roof area). I'm not sure what the source of that 50% figure is but it does appear to be a hard limit with all off the solar providers (including offers from out of state businesses).

I would want to use all the suitable roof area, even if that would make me a net energy producer.
--
Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

1 recommendation

Then get one to do 50% and another to do the other 50%
--
semper idem
1KTzRMxN1a2ATrtAAvbmEnMBoY3E2kHtyv


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL
reply to leibold
said by leibold:

Fossil fuel power plants aren't the only way to meet peak demands and more importantly don't help at all with the issue of excess power from plants that can't be throttled easily.

I never stated fossil fuel power plants are a way to meet peak demands as they are not designed to do so, what I did state that in order to backfill for the un-reliable nature of solar and wind, fuel oil or NG fired turbine peakers are required to do that job, and due to their efficiency levels and maintenance required they are an expensive solution to a green caused problem.

»www.ge-energy.com/products_and_s···vy_duty/

One solution that I have seen here in California as well as in Europe is hydro-electric power storage. Excess power is used to pump water into an uphill reservoir which is then used to generate power during peak periods. The advantages are that it is "green" technology, rapid response to variations in the grid and that it can be used to store energy on a very large scale (higher capacity then realistically possible with batteries). The disadvantages are low efficiency (compared to electro-chemical storage in batteries) and the large area needed for the reservoir.

said by 54067323:

but in the real world until massive amounts of electrical storage become practical and cost effective, solar is not ready for prime time generation.

As I stated, practical is the key word and the process of hydro-storage is not at all practical.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

1 edit
reply to leibold
said by leibold:

Fossil fuel power plants aren't the only way to meet peak demands and more importantly don't help at all with the issue of excess power from plants that can't be throttled easily.

One solution that I have seen here in California as well as in Europe is hydro-electric power storage. Excess power is used to pump water into an uphill reservoir which is then used to generate power during peak periods. The advantages are that it is "green" technology, rapid response to variations in the grid and that it can be used to store energy on a very large scale (higher capacity then realistically possible with batteries). The disadvantages are low efficiency (compared to electro-chemical storage in batteries) and the large area needed for the reservoir.

We have 2 hydro-electric pumped storage plants here in Virginia. You try to build a new one and the enviro wackos go bonkers because they claim ecological damage and environmental damage to fish. In fact they don't want any streams or rivers dammed period.

Bath County Pumped Storage Station

The Bath County Pumped Storage Station is a pumped storage hydroelectric power plant, which is described as the “largest battery in the world”, with a generation capacity of 3,003 MW

Smith Mountain Lake Hydro Power Plant

Smith Mountain Dam houses five hydroelectric generators with a combined installed capacity of 560 MW. Smith Mountain Lake Dam utilizes pumped-storage hydroelectricity by which water that is released downstream can be pumped back into Smith Mountain Lake for re-use.


printscreen

join:2003-11-01
Juana Diaz, PR
Reviews:
·Choice Cable TV
·Coqui/PRTC
said by Jack_in_VA:

Smith Mountain Lake Hydro Power Plant

Smith Mountain Dam houses five hydroelectric generators with a combined installed capacity of 560 MW. Smith Mountain Lake Dam utilizes pumped-storage hydroelectricity by which water that is released downstream can be pumped back into Smith Mountain Lake for re-use.

How green is that? Pumping the water back takes energy from another source, likely fossil fuels or the energy from another hydro-electric plant.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
The point is to store energy from an efficient plant such as a nuke, and use the stored energy to meet peak demands.

Yes there are conversion losses, but they are less costly than running certain plants for peaking purposes.
--

kevinds
Premium
join:2003-05-01
Calgary, AB
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Shaw
reply to John Galt
I can't see myself ever installing solar... Wind however, isn't a bad ROI, as long as you are still connected to the grid to sell excess and buy when it is a calm day

Battery and power storage destroys the ROI again...
--
Yes, I am not employed and looking for IT work. Have passport, will travel.